IT will be fiery competition on the River Severn as dragon boat racing comes to Bewdley.

Crews of 16 paddlers and a drummer will row the vessels, which are decorated with Chinese dragon heads and tails, against each other in a bid to be crowned the fastest team.

The Rotary Club of Bewdley has organised the event and is appealing for members of the public to get involved.

John Cox, chairman of the club’s fundraising committee, said: “It promises to be a fun-filled, adrenaline-pumping day of activities.

“If you can get 17 or more people together then you can enter a whole boat, which would be a great team-building experience for work colleagues or friends.

“Those not being able to make up a crew of 17 will be put together with others to fill a boat and everybody who wants to race will race.

“Teams can be men, women, mixed, old or young and no experience is necessary but there is a minimum age of 12 years.”

One boat has been filled by members of the West Midlands Taekwondo group in Bewdley and the crew are getting to fight for the title of fastest team at the water sports festival.

Katie Billingham, senior instructor of the martial arts group, said: “We are really excited and enthusiastically looking forward to this event and to the atmosphere that will be generated down by the river.

“The ethos of taekwondo is to promote healthy lifestyles for all ages and abilities and so the group does lots of activities, which have recently included a swimathon, the pub and club regatta and a high-ropes course in the Wyre Forest, but this is something completely different.”

The festival, which has been organised with support from experts at Dragon Boat Events, who will provide full safety briefings to all competitors, will take place on Saturday, August 23 at 10am at Bewdley Rowing Club and will raise money for the Rotary Club of Bewdley as well as charities chosen by participants.

Entry costs £29 per person and each crew is guaranteed three timed races in the qualifying rounds, while successful boats will also compete in a final for a chance to win medals and a trophy.

To register contact John Cox on 08451 990160 or at